Developer designs community to make life easier for baby boomers

Monday, June 25, 2007
The interior of a California Home. (Fred Lynch)
This is one of the California Homes built in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

Home owners approaching retirement age are looking for maintenance-free housing.

Aware of a demand for simple living in Cape Girardeau, California Homes developer Mike Peters created a community called the Villas of West Park, across from Doctors' Park on Bloomfield Road, targeted at baby boomers.

Peters works exclusively with his clients to design a home that fits their needs and his crew maintains the landscaping.

"When people hit their golden years, they don't want to be tied down," the Jackson native said. "They could own their home but don't have to take care of it or worry about hiring people."

So far the 10 acres feature seven duplexes, or 14 single-family attached houses, all with different interior layouts. Peters ultimately plans on constructing 24 separate homes and gating the community.

Right now the homes range from $184,000 to $320,000, depending on their features. For example, one has an extra living room instead of a guest bedroom and another has a large walk-in shower in place of another bathtub.

After living in an apartment for 11 years, Dr. June McCrory, a semiretired counselor from the Scott County School District, saw the California Homes sign for the Bloomfield Road development. She waited three years to have her house built early last year. "I hate outdoor work," she said. "I love it here."

Peters wasn't the first to design this type of community in the area.

More than 10 years ago, local real estate agent Dave Dormeyer no longer wanted to maintain his yard, so he hired an architect to build a set of luxury condominiums on the Beavercreek Drive property that he owned with Keith Deimund.

Dormeyer lived in Chesterfield, Mo., which is where he got the notion.

The community, Aspen Park, has three sets of attached single homes for a total of nine units all in the $300,000 range. Dormeyer said there are no children living in the homes and most of the homeowners like to travel.

They're able to do so without worrying about mowing the lawn when they come home or removing snow or ice in the winter.

Everyone pays $200 a month in fees, which includes mowing and watering the lawn, insurance on the building, security lighting outside and taxes on common areas.

Deimund, the other property owner, lives in the Deer Valley townhouses up the street, which are similar. Mitch Kinder of Kinder and Maurer Development constructed the project after Deimund sold the property and the idea.

"Lock and leave. It's a pretty popular concept nationwide," Kinder said. "As the population becomes older, people want to downsize their home."

Deimund, a retired dentist, has seen it done in Colorado, Florida and South Carolina, he said.

Pat Bratton, who used to work in a few school systems in the area, wanted to give up the responsibility of owning a large home, she said. Her grown children are in their 20s.

She didn't want an apartment, she wanted a home with a garage. "You have some of the amenities of home­ownership but not quite the responsibility."

Bill and JoAnn Adams, a retired couple, have lived in a duplex in the Villas of West Park for just over a year. They sold their home with seven acres of property to tend in Van Buren, Mo. An $85 maintenance fee freed up some time.

"Now our life is a little more simple," JoAnn said.

tkrakowiak@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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